Event room view with hanging orchid arrangement at forefront

The experiential event or the art of transporting guests to another place in space and time

As a result of a wonderful collaboration back in June this year, Bubble food have invited me to write a guest article for their blog, about my experience designing an experiential event for Brandingmag. So here are my thoughts on working on Branding Over Tea.

“Hosted at One Embankment by Brandingmag, this boutique event was crafted as an experiential workshop merging tea traditions with branding.

The first of its kind, with a nod to brands and brand creators which invited them to explore and adopt similar strategies of engaging their audience through events.

The objective of this particular event was to deliver a message of quality, attention and patience as key ingredients in branding.

Chinese wooden lantern hanging above event room at experiential event

STANDING OUT

With creativity at the core of branding and thousands of cool new concepts and innovations being shared every day, standing out is no easy feat. So, how to capture people’s attention and deliver a message that is impactful and worth spreading?

I believe that addressing the audience’s basic senses and engaging everyone equally is key. More precisely, it is imperative to design immersive events that transport guests to another place in time or space. The experience must illustrate the brand message, whilst being fun and having a sense of comfort and familiarity.

Above view of table with Chinese tea set and canapes for experiential event

THEMES

As a motif for the event we picked the Chinese tea ceremony, a ritual that is a long-standing example of the values promoted through the event. The 6 principles behind the ceremony (find out here what they are) were a perfect fit for the content. So, they were used to draw parallels and provide a new perspective on branding.

Instead of creating a faithful representation of a traditional tea ceremony, I decided to design an experience that mingled core elements of the ritual in a contemporary context which emphasised diversity and accessibility. The scope was to ease people in and ensure they could relate to what they were being presented.

IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE

Each of the five senses was engaged on multiple planes that intertwined and complemented each other. Together with an amazing team of talented suppliers we transformed the space into a luxurious lounge and created a captivating demonstration of tea preparation and service.

Broken-down into 3 sessions, the programme allowed guests to fully appreciate the experience and exchange thoughts. The tea service was accompanied by live traditional music from a duo of harp and Chinese flute, carefully selected to complement and add to the graceful ritual

Harp and xiao duo playing seated in alcove with Traditional Chinese round entrance
Chinese dragon backflow incense burner
Canapes inspired by traditional Chinese deserts

DECOR

The room was filled with an eclectic mix of modern and antique Chinese furniture and décor pieces. Each corner featured something different with interesting details that provided something new every time the guest looked around.

Amber lighting and candles reinforced the welcoming feeling, while the air was lightly infused with floral scents. The teaware and accessories, different for each table, provided a diverse visual and tactile stimulus, ranging from jade coloured porcelain to unglazed brown clay.

Pagoda lantern and red orchid
Chinoiserie table lamp on antique Chinese side table and orchids

FOOD & DRINK

In collaboration with the team at Bubble, we put together an exquisitely delicious bespoke menu. The canapes were inspired by popular Chinese dishes and presented with a modern flair, paired with a selection of 6 of the finest Chinese teas and topped off with infused tea cocktails.

In order to connect with guests on a more personal level, and to provide another layer of luxurious service, each member of the Bubble team focused upon one activity (tea or food service) and attended to a maximum of 6 people throughout the event. Their dedication to perfect execution, delight and interest in what they were doing were the ‘cherry on top of the cake’ for this experience.

Waitress performing a tea service at guests table during the event
Chinese ceramic tea pots and tea holders with a variety of loose tea leaves

To watch a video of highlights and see more photos from the event, check out the Branding Over Tea Gallery in my Portfolio.

Images in this article ©MattChungPhotography